Police find likely blackbird killer

Police find likely blackbird killer

Beebe police found a box of fireworks near where hundreds of birds died on New Year's Eve in Beebe.
BEEBE, AR - This is not your typical crime scene, but it is a crime scene of sorts. For the second New Year's in a row, hundreds of blackbirds are dead in Beebe.

Police officers think they found the cause Monday -- a box of used fireworks.

"It's just a container with multiple tubes," said Lt. Brian Duke while holding up the box. "You light one fuse, and it just goes to setting everything off."

Police think someone intentionally set the fireworks off near the thousands of birds that roost in Beebe every year. The birds have trouble seeing things at night, just like humans, so a lot of them flew out of the trees and crash landed. Now the question is -- who lit the fireworks?

"I mean I can't say that we have anybody as a suspect because there are no suspects at this time," said Duke.

Fireworks are legal in Beebe on New Year's Eve and July Fourth. However, this year the police department asked people not to shoot fireworks because of the birds. Meaning, charges are unlikely for whoever launched the fireworks, but police wouldn't mind talking to them anyway.

That certainly includes Duke. For him, last New Year's wasn't just about the birds.

He explained, "that was my wedding night."

So Duke got married then had to deal with the birds. This year, his first anniversary, the police chief gave him the night off only to have hundreds of bird deaths all over again.

"About 8:30 my phone rang," Duke said, "and it was the chief saying it's happening again."

So, you could say, anniversary celebrations are for the birds.
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